Two women dropped in to Ray D’Arcy for a chat about death. There was plenty of laughing, and only some of it was nervous and awkward. At one point Ray declared:
“This is the funnest conversation about death I’ve ever had.”
And he sounded like he meant it.
In studio today were Gray Cahill and Rebecca Lloyd, Public Engagement Officer with The Irish Hospice Foundation. Both women are comfortable talking about death, for very different reasons. In Gray’s case, she recently featured in a Documentary on One about making her own end of life preparations. Rebecca talks about death and dying for a living. She used to be an engineer but switched careers following her mother’s death from Motor Neurone Disease.
Ray, Gray and Rebecca chatted about the different ways people choose to talk about death, with Gray expressing a strong preference for words like “death, dying and died” as opposed to expressions like “passing” or “passed away”.
US-born Gray came to make the recent documentary after her GP died in hospice care, only months after giving her a leaflet on the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF). This spurred her into action and she made contact with them. Rebecca then came to speak to Gray and her friends about end of life. She asked them to consider filling in the IHF’s Think Ahead form designed to get people thinking about some of the issues they may ultimately have to face.
Ray quizzed former nun Gray on her feelings on the afterlife and she was hedging her bets:
“I wonder – I’ve certainly thrown out the idea of an interventionist God, but I don’t know what is out there beyond.”
Whatever about the afterlife, one of the things Gray Cahill is sure about is her plan to distribute her art collection among friends. She’s been incredibly pragmatic about it, effectively getting them to take their pick.
“I’ve been inviting my friends to tell me what they want to inherit.”
Gray says some of her friends are fine with saying what they want, while others seem a bit shy, either way it’s given them a good chance to start a tricky conversation.
You can listen to Ray’s full interview with Gray Cahill and Rebecca Lloyd here.
Gray’s Documentary on One, Death: Don’t Leave It To The Last Minute is available here.
More details about The Irish Hospice Foundation’s Think Ahead form can be found here.
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